The trick to breeding betta fish is that they need to be in prime condition to mate. This is achieved by feeding live food or frozen and keeping the tank clean and free from ammonia, nitrate and nitrite. It is also possible to feed them with a high protein mini pellet dry food, feeding them four times a day or a mixture of the two. They would be as easy as other anabantids to breed except for one thing, the male will fight other male bettas and will also fight females.
Whenever possible try to breed a male and female of the same fin type and colour. However, this is sometimes difficult because the female is less brightly coloured and has shorter fins. An experienced breeder will recognise which female is the correct type because a females fins and colour will suggest what type she is. See Betta fish colors.
A 20 litre tank is suitable for breeding. The water temperature should be about 80F. Duckweed is a good option for keeping the tank free from nitrates and nitrites as duckweed feed off these harmful waste products. Bettas are particularly susceptible. Also use a sponge filter to keep the water clean. Clean the sponge once a week in a bucket of aged water. Do not use tap water because the chlorine in tap water kills off the beneficial bacteria in the sponge that helps neutralise the nitrates in the water.
Pick a male and female of similar size and both at the prime of health. If you want to breed for a specific tail type then the female must be carefully selected to be of the same type as the male. A female veiltail betta will produce all veiltail young no matter what type the male is. The same is true of female roundtail bettas.
Make sure the outflow from the sponge filter is dissipated by using a bushy plant to deflect the current flow. A strong current will spread and split the bubble nest.
To gain the maximum yield of young use a bare bottom tank. A gravelly tank will make it difficult for the male to capture all the eggs. Also use a tight fitting lid to prevent the bettas from jumping out and to keep the air above the tank warm and moist. Remember to access the tank very briefly and close up quickly to maintain this warm moist air above the tank.
Provide lots of hiding places for the female betta in the form of bushy plants and plastic pipes, etc.
Keep priming the pair with live food, frozen or high protein pellets. Also change 10% of the water every day. Raise the temperature to 82F.
Eventually the male will start to build a bubble nest. Also check the female is ready, she will have become extra plump and may exhibit vertical stripes and her ovipositor should be visible( A white bud that protrudes out of her anus). When both are ready or nearly ready introduce the female. Keep an eye on the pair. The male may at first be a bit aggressive.
The female will approach the male and his bubble nest when she is ready to mate. At first the male may chase her away. Eventually, he should accept her. At this point the male will entice her to underneath the nest. The male then wraps his body around the female in what looks like a squeeze. The female releases several eggs which the male fertilises. The eggs start to fall down. The female passes out and the male chases down the eggs capturing them in his mouth and swims up putting them into the nest. When the female comes round the male embraces her again and a further batch of eggs are laid. Eventually the female stops entering the embrace but instead runs away. Remove her at this point.
Put the female in a resting tank for a week before putting her back in a community tank.
The male then takes care of the nest, rescuing any eggs that fall out and keeping the eggs clean. Once the eggs hatch after about four and a half days. The male will keep putting the young fry back in the nest as they fall out.
Here we see them dropping out of the bubble nest. They still have their yolk sac, so don’t start need feeding yet.
When the fry become free swimming then it is best to remove the male as well. At this point start feeding infusoria. But be careful to ensure the water of the infusoria is the same temperature as the betta tank. This can be achieved by floating a container of infusoria in the tank for 20 minutes before releasing into the tank.
Make sure you stagger the production of infusoria to maintain a continuous supply. Feed 4 or 5 times a day.
After a week start on brine shrimp and microworm.
After another three weeks weaned them onto crush flake food and wean them off the live food slowly